Abbey Gardens viewed from the Webcam

Getting fruity

I'm hugely enjoying the meticulous research into the best fruit varieties to choose for our 35m of south-facing wall at Abbey Gardens. We will plant circa 30 trees to be trained as single stem cordons, this winter - date TBC.

I found this appletastic site - which aims to get users to catalogue their apple trees for an all over the country (and world!) map. It has a way to go but I like the idea.

Topics: [Fruit] [orchard]

Autumn Garden Club

Photo: Nina Pope
Photo: Nina Pope

Autumn is really here and now the clocks have changed we are tweeking our Thursday night garden club times.

Chris will continue to run the Garden Club until the end of November, Saturdays and Tuesdays remain the same but we are moving the Thursday night session forward. So until the end of November the times will be as follows:

Saturdays 10.00 am - 2.00 pm
Tuesdays 10.00 am - 1.00 pm
Thursdays 4.00 pm - dusk (at present about 5.30)

Of course the garden is now open to the public everyday so you can visit at any time, but if you want to get into hands on gardening these are the best times.

As Chris is on holiday this week I am running the sessions - on Thursday night we have a group of students visiting so I'll be giving a talk about the garden if anyone would like to join. On Saturday we have plenty of harvesting to do plus weeding and a few more 'choice' jobs! Hope to see you there.

Tomato Glut

Autumn produce going off to the Mind office - Photo: Nina Pope
Autumn produce going off to the Mind office - Photo: Nina Pope

Despite the Autumnal feel there is still a lot to see in the garden and in fact harvest. For anyone with an innovative tomato recipe (green or otherwise) now is your moment to visit or add it to the plant database!

This Tuesday Shahan and I spent a gorgeous sunny morning weeding and harvesting, we had so much excess produce Shahan took a box back to Mind's office for the other staff!

Pimp my portacabin

A big belated thanks to Andy Findlater and Bam Nuttall for the amazing portacabin they donated to the project which now forms our very posh shed.

I've been waiting to post a picture until Karen and I's 'pimping' of the beast was complete. As you can see it now looks great and the Plaistow Landgrabbers can watch over us as we garden!

Topics: [Abbey Gardens] [landgrabbers] [shed]

We hardly made a dent in it ...

Poppy and a picnic of peas
Poppy and a picnic of peas

You'd have thought that the Harvest Festival last weekend where we fed at least 100 if not 150 people from the garden would have left it slightly bare, but not a bit of it! My Dahlias have at last come into bloom and we still have an excess of produce.

This is the veg Tim and I took home just for the two of us on Saturday - although we stopped off at our allotment to share some with friends - including Poppy - here seen making short work of some fresh peas!

Topics: [food] [Harvest] [picnic]

What Will The Harvest Festival Be? Pics

Sam Clark from Moro - not only cooking but chatting to the crowd too!
Sam Clark from Moro - not only cooking but chatting to the crowd too!

There are loads of nice pictures of the Harvest Festival event, including all the competition judging and Moro's lovely cooking. I've put a good selection up on Flickr here.

If you like to follow progress on the site you might also want to join our shared Abbey Gardens Flickr Group.

Topics: [festival] [food] [Harvest]

And the winners were ...

Happy winner Nelly with her carrot snail
Happy winner Nelly with her carrot snail

I think we can say that the Harvest Festival was a triumph! Great weather, wonderful food cooked by Sam Clark from Moro, the garden looked great, and the competition entries were fantastic.

This year's lucky winners in the competitive classes were:

101 A Vegetable Sculpture - 12 yrs of age and under
1st prize - no. 46 Emily Copley (Sad Octopus/Jelly fish)
2nd prize - no. 58 Finn Farnan Walsh (green pepper frog)
3rd prize - no. 55, 54 & 53 The family Farnan Walsh (for an impressive aubergine penguin family)

102 A Vegetable Sculpture  - 13 yrs plus
1st prize - no. 1 Maria Benjamin
2nd prize - no. 7 Nelly Ben Hayoun
3rd prize - no. 4 Tilly Blyth

103 A Floral Arrangement on the theme of "What Will the Harvest Be?"
1st prize - no. 1 Dasha French ("excellent use of cauliflower")

104 A Garden-themed Home-made Cake or Traybake 
1st prize - no. 1 The Keating Family
2nd prize - no. 7 Cath French
3rd prize - no. 4 Gilly Waller

Moro Come East

We're REALLY pleased and excited to announce that Sam & Sam Clark the owners and chefs at the fantastic Moro restaurant will be cooking live at our Harvest Festival event on September the 12th. We can't wait to see what they will do with all our fresh veg! They recently published a new book 'Moro East' with recipes inspired by the produce grown on their own East End allotment so I'm sure they won't be short on good ideas ... they even seemed excited by the mention of our challenging Kohl Rabi mountain.

Topics: [cooking] [event] [festival] [Harvest]

Watch my artichokes

On Saturday Chris tactfully took me aside to break the news that half my precious crop of artichokes grown from seed seem to have mysteriously died ... after some discussion of foxes/birds etc. we decided someone must have accidentally weeded them out realised their mistake and tried to pop them back.

Today this email from Dasha "..I am sorry I have a bad news for you...I accidentally pulled out some of the artichokes from the central bed thinking that they were weeds (they looked like thistles). In fact Louis pulled some too because I told him that they were weeds and then we realised that they were kind of symetrical. So we quickly put them back but the damage is done..."

I actually think they might make it back, they have been through so much so far waiting indefinitely in pots for Danny and co. to finish their bed. Sadly they're quite tricky to grow from seed but we could try some more next spring. However, I have since read that it's in fact better to start them off by splitting older ones so we may want to try and find an allotment person with another type we can split from.

Sadly (for everyone else) this can only increase my manic labelling obsession, maybe I need a label each for them!!



Topics: [artichokes] [Harvest] [weeding]

Courgette with that Sir?

Yesterday we all had courgette quiche for lunch (Torange) followed by courgette cake (me) followed by some lightly grilled evening courgettes (Torange). I fear this is not an uncommon problem for allotment holders.

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